Tur­tle hos­pi­tal hope

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - REGINA LOVIC regina. lovic@ news. com. au

A TUR­TLE hos­pi­tal in the Bur­dekin could be vi­tal to sav­ing hun­dreds of aquatic lives as a lo­cal in­dige­nous group looks to do its part to keep the Great Bar­rier Reef strong.

The Gud­juda In­dige­nous Skills Cen­tre is look­ing to build a tur­tle hos­pi­tal and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre at the old Home Hill Show­grounds site.

The group is look­ing to ren­o­vate an old struc­ture, that was once used to give lo­cals liq­uid courage, into a fully func­tional marine haven with plans to build two tanks within.

Gud­juda In­dige­nous Skills Cen­tre man­ager Ed­die Small­wood said he was ea­ger for the tur­tle hos­pi­tal to come to fruition.

“In the new fi­nan­cial year we’re look­ing to es­tab­lish our own re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre here in the Bur­dekin,” he said.

“I’ve got some spon­sors on board and once we get it up and run­ning, we’ll want the lo­cal peo­ple to as­sist too.

“The tur­tle hos­pi­tal, or re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre, is im­por­tant for the area; we more or less get called out all the time when there are in­jured tur­tles or marine life and some­times there’s not enough time to travel to Townsville.

“Townsville gets over­loaded, so the po­ten­tial is there to save an un­lim­ited num­ber of an­i­mals.

“All the dif­fer­ent an­i­mals and tur­tles that need as­sis­tance go to Townsville be­cause of the Reef HQ or James Cook Univer­sity, so we work well with JCU and we want to make sure we put our re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre into use to as­sist them.”

He said it was vi­tal to have a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre in the area.

“Ab­bot Point will be de­vel­oped in the fu­ture and we have a long time to look at how we’re go­ing to look af­ter marine species, whether it’s tur­tles, dol­phins or any other marine life,” he said.

“We ac­tu­ally have to start do­ing re­search be­cause in 20 to 50 years’ time, we want there to be tur­tles and other marine life left.

“By hav­ing a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre here, we’ll be look­ing to have some lo­cal vets come on board.”

There were 12 stranded tur­tles from Jan­uary- March in Townsville re­gion.

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